Friday, February 15, 2013

The On-going Journey Towards Recovery

After coping with and learning from a bad experience which lasted over four years, I finally hit the brick wall.  I could no longer go on.  I realized the futility of even trying.  I had a stress breakdown.  I suffered psychiatric injury.  Now, a year or so later, I cope daily with the physical affects of latent stress on a daily basis.

My on-going journey comes with no easy, 1-2-3 instructions for healing.  It's a progressive, in-my-face, daily journey.

As far as depression goes, there are two theories for healing.  One is to do absolutely nothing.  Lie in bed all day if you want to.  Play solitaire in your room if you want to.   Etc.  The other theory is to try to keep to life as normal as possible.  Wake up at the usual time.  Perform the usual tasks.  Do the usual activities.

I always ascribed to the second theory.  Until I hit the brick wall this past fall - about six months or more after the original stress breakdown.

At the time, I was cognizant that I'd had a breakdown of sorts.

Stress breakdowns, psychiatric injury, reactive depression, complex PTSD do not come with manuals.  There are no simple instructions to follow.  No magic wands to wave.  No pills to make it all better.   To make it go away.

Does this mean there is no hope for the victim?  Recovery not possible?


It simply means that each victim's path is unique to that individual.  Only with strong support can the individual even hope to make it through.

With a nightmare, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Waking up.  With a horror story, there is no tunnel.  No light at the end of it.  It's more like a quagmire in which the victim is sinking deeper and deeper.  Past the ankles.  Making walking hard.  The quagmire appears endless.  Totally engulfing.  Hope is in short supply.

I remember a moment in an Olympic games many years ago which has stood out in my memory.  An athlete had sustained an injury but was determined to run again.  He started off with the others.  All eyes on him.  Running.  Would he make it?  Would he complete the race?  At first, it seemed like he would.  Then he fell.  He picked himself up.  Tried again.  Fell again.  Picked himself up.  Could no longer run.  Tried walking.  Determined to cross the finish line.  His face showed both his struggle and his determination.  His father and his coach witnessed this man, picking himself up.  Saw his determination.  First one, then the other, left the sidelines and approached the runner.  The father on one side.  The coach on the other. Their arms around the athlete, the three completed the race and crossed the finish line.  Not the way he wanted to.  Not on a sprint, arms waving in the arm, huge smile on his face to cheers of adulation.  Yet, he attained a greater victory.  By not giving up.  By continuing on in the face of great adversity.

From here my (deranged) mind flits to a more recent memory of a man I've never met nor talked to.  Whose name I don't know.  Yet as he ran past me on a beach a few years ago, he created an indelible imprint in my mind.  A jogger.  There are many of those on the beach.  What caused this one jogger to impact me so much?  The answer.  He was running with a prosthesis.  To me, he has become a visual image for me to keep on.  To face the challenges.  To continue on the race.  It can be done.

This is you and me, my fellow journeyer, on the path of recovery.  We can do this.

1 comment:

  1. You write beautifully and I love the symbolism of the jogger. You can be an inspiration to the many people struggling with depression and other psychiatric disorders. There seems to still be a stigma in our society, one that does not seem to be easily broken. I don't know if it's fear or perhaps we just all want to think that we're somehow immune to the disorders that you talk about. We are all touched in one way or another by anxiety or depression and other psychiatric conditions, so why not talk about it? I appreciate your candor and contribution.